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america bailed out the banks. will banc of america bail out the mra? it is friday, january 25th, and this is "now." joining me today two newbies. i mean that in the sense of being on the show. bloomberg white house correspondent hans nichols, and miamalika henderson is up here, and msnbc contributor, the wind beneath my sails, queen bee, joy reid. after press conferences and task force meetings about gun safety, it is time for congress to walk the walk. senator dianne feinstein unveiled an assault weapons ban that would block the sale and manufacturing of more than 150 firearms while excludeing more than 2,200 firearms used for hunt and sporting. assault weapons purchased prior
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to the ban would remain legal. and, yet, feinstein went a step too far for the nra, which responded in a statement "it's disappointing but not surprising that she is once again focused on curtailing the constitution instead of prosecuting criminals or fixing our broken mental health system. conservative columnist michelle malkin doubled down in the way only she can. >> you talk about the root of this problem, the disrespect that the people on the left have for the constitution, that that's at the core of this, that it's about freedom versus tyranny. >> vice president joe biden yesterday countered with that rare and prized thing, logic. >> just as you don't have an individual right to go out and buy an f-15 if you are a billionaire with ordinance on it, just like you don't have a right to go buy an m-1 tank, just like you don't have a right to buy an automatic weapon,
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those judgments have been made that there are no societial -- reasonable societial justification or constitutional justification for owning that. >> right now the vice president is in virginia attend aing round table discussion on gun violence with homeland security secretary janet napolitano, and health and human southwests secretary. as a reminder, a new poll by the washington post and abc news finds 53% of americans support the gun safety measures proposed by president obama, and nearly six in ten voters support an assault weapons ban, including 45% of gun owning households. joining us now from washington is a survivor of the virginia tech shooting and assistant director of federal legislation for the brady campaign, colin goddard. colin, it is always great to see you. before we start our conversation, i should note we are expecting the president to announce some personnel appointments, including that of dennis mcdonough at 12:10, and we will cut to that when it happens. first, colin, you are in many ways, my friend, the star of the
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white house push towards gun safety reform. don't think we didn't notice when the vice president name-checked you as the president announced his proposals. as you are at the center of the beating heart of this thing, i want to know what you make of the renewed talk about the assault weapons ban. i think a lot of people thought it wasn't going to happen. the fact that the vice president brought it up yesterday, what do you give its chances in terms of actually passing, and how much is it a setback if it doesn't pass? >> i think the assault weapons ban is a critical piece of the broader comprehensive plan that the president has put forward. i mean, we think that background checks on all gun sales, for example, should be right up there as well. rather the xrens i approach that the president put forward and what the vast majority of americans are coming behind and supporting. >> colin, i was thinking about the logic that joe biden put forward in terms of meeting certain kinds of weaponry and not needing certain kinds of
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weaponry, which led me to thinking and questioning and wondering how guns make it to market. there are certain laws that are in place that sort of make illegal the possession of machine guns, but in terms of things like the ar-15, in terms of a lot of these some automatics this are on the market, there is actually no regulation, it sounds like. gun manufacturers get to decide what they want to market to the consumer. is that right? >> right. guns are the only consumer good that is not regulated by the federal government. there are actually more federal regulation on manufacturing bb guns than there are real guns, so it really is, you know, francly ridiculous when you look at it like that, and i think what you brought up of guns making it into the illegal market, which is a big problem, we have to realize that 40% of all gun sales in this country every year go unchecked. i mean, that's a really easy way for a legitimate gun to fall into the hands of an illegitimate person, and we need to fix that problem, and the president's proposals will do just that. >> let me bring in our wonderful panel here in new york. hans, harry reid is bringing to theoretically going to bring
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this legislation forward to the floor of the senate and open amendment process, which a lot of people think is going to fundamentally water down some of the provisions because basically everybody gets to throw their 2 cents in. your read on that and your sort of optimism with regard to real reform. >> well, most of those serious reform efforts right now will have a ledges lafsh process, and we can game out how it's going to go. you're going to have moderate democrats that will take tough votes, and you'll see republican communities talk about forcing him to take tough votes. rahm emanuel going after their funding. to me that seems not quite a game changer, but at least it's coming at it at a different angle. that to me seems more interesting than the normal legislative process and whatever the president is going to put forward and go step by step. >> i sort of mention that in the intro. the fact that rahm emanuel is going after td bank and bank of america and saying, look, you guys can't give these guys extended credit to manufacture weaponry, the fact that he circumventing the nra and going right to sort of the financial
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institutions that fund the manufacture of these weapons seems creative and also a way of drumming up real grassroots support. what do you think of that? >> i mean, there are many ways for all of us to get involved in changing the current status quo of our gun policy. not just as political entities, but also as consumers and investors. i think that every angle that we take to try to reduce the gun deaths and injuries in this country is going to lead to a better safer country for all of us. >> i will read a quote from scott lehigh in the boston globe. the gun absolutists and their allies have succeeded because they are better organize and more focus and pursue their objectives with single-minded zeal. if we are to pass sensible gun laws in this country, opponents will have to match the gun lobby's discipline and determination at every step along the way. >> you have seen from the gun lobby a sort of masterful plan over these last two decades. not only to coop republicans but also people like harry reid who got some donations from the nra,
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who essentially courted their endorsement, was disappointed that they didn't endorse him. i think so far what we've seen is sort of the usual suspects speaking out on gun control. we've had this amazing and very tragic, searing event that happened in sandy hook, but then you had the usual suspects, whether it was the mayors or from these different cities, liberals from california, and i think you are going to have to see some different tactics. things like emmanuel -- rahm emanuel trying. also, i mean, wal-mart is a big player in here, right? i mean, they sell guns, but they are also very cognizant of the sort of image that they have. remember, it was michelle obama around her obesity effort went to wal-mart and said, listen, you should sell different sorts of -- you have to have corporate buy-in, and wal-mart could be a sort of pressure point in this fight. >> colin, in terms of that, in terms of something like this bank of america piece that rahm emanuel is pursuing, one would think that there are a lot of consumers that would want to get on board. people who bank at bank of
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america who want to participate in getting broader gun safety laws many this country. to what extent are you guys at the brady campaign working in concert with this or working with grassroots networks to insure that there is more of a sort of sea change in bringing in different actors into this debate, as nia said? >> we've made unbelievable progress just in the last month and a half of bringing new people into this conversation. people who have never talked about guns before. we brought them directly to capitol hill to have meetings with their elected officials. we've been in the white house with meetings. you know, i think even just seeing now that the vice president is going to virginia and holding a roundtable, you know, shows that the administration understands that really the missing piece to this is the american public outrage and engagement, that we have to match what's been so prevalent on the other side for so long. we've begun to see that. it's been incredible. everyone is watching. let's keep this up because we can get this done. >> i want to introduce to america ben smith.
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>> we stopped any the hallway. joy, first, in terms of this moment in time, i mean, i think there was a sense of collective pessimism about whether anything would happen, but given the fact that this -- a, the conversation continues. >> right. >> we are still on this television show, and many other television shows, talking about where this stuff is going. the nra seems to be relying on their sort of tyranny of the top, elitist gun grabbers. i am not sure that this time it is want different, which is a double negative. i think this time might be different. >> no, and i was one of the pessimistic people. i think on this show i expressed extreme pessimism that it would last this long, and i'm pleasantly surprised it's still going. there are a couple of soft spots though, and nia touched on some of those. the nra themselves, i think they've made a lot of mistaez. they're trying to compete with more extreme gun groups like gun owners of america, and their rhetoric has started to move from personal protection and need it for our home to we need to be able to fight the government with equivalent
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force, we need to have the same kind of arma meant that is the government has because we're fighting tyranny. most people think that sounds crazy. they don't speak for me. then have you people like rahm emanuel. you have consumers, and you have michael bloomberg who said we're not going to go directly at the nra necessarily. we're going to hit the soft spots. retailers who are sensitive to public opinion, sensitive to potential boycotts. cities are a huge consumer of the gun product, so if cities say, you know what, to the gun manufacturers, well, we are going to use our buying power to make you curb to our wishes, that is a lot more powerful than simply saying we want more gun control. >> ben, before you got here, while you were being -- while you were strip-searched in a busy hallway, we talked about the fact that 45% of gun owners favor gun safety reform. i mean, that -- it's one thing to say the public, right, but the fact that there are contich went -- the nra has constituents that want to see sort of tighter control on, let's say,
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semi-automatic assault weapons, would seem to suggest that they, too, could come out and maybe use their power to change things. >> i think that's what nobody has quite figured out is how to make them care as much about the regulations as the other 55% care about not having them. i think it would be acceptable to them. they're fine with it. they're not on the streets marching for it. i do think, though, it's amaz g amazing. people talk about how ineffective obama has been as using the bully pulpit and how little really happened. >> change has come. >> you also have wayne la pierre coming out from the crazy cave every couple of minutes. >> they did kind of get rid of him for a while, and then he -- >> he is the human whack-a-mole. >> thank you so much for joining us, colin. we hope you are going to spend your time camping outside of harry reid's office in a sleeping bag medical we get many legislation on the floor of the senate, my friend. >> absolutely. whatever we have to do. >> now go to nbc news kristen
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welker who is joining us from the east room of the white house where president obama is expected to announce the appointment of dennis mcdonough as the new white house chief of staff. kristen, give us a little background on mr. mcdonough. >> he has been one of his top advisors really for the past decade. this is someone in who president obama has a lot of trust. they have worked together since president obama was a senator during the 2008 campaign. he has taken a big role in helping the president shape some of the big foreign policy decisions that have come out of this white house, including drawing down the troops in afghanistan, ending the war in iraq, responding to some of the national -- or natural, rather, disasters that have occurred during president obama's tenure, including japan, haiti, and you remember he was pictured in the situation room after the raid on osama bin laden, so this is someone with whom president obama has worked for quite some
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time. he has a good working relationship with white house staffers, and just a little bit of biographical information, alex. he lives with his wife and three kids in maryland. he is one of 11 kids himself. president obama coming out right now to announce this new appointment, chief of staff dennis mcdonough. >> thank you, kristen. >> thank you. thank you, everybody. please, everybody, have a seat. good afternoon, everybody, and welcome to the announcement of one of the worst kept secrets in washington. as president i rely on an extraordinary team of men and women here at the white house every single day, and i rely on my chief of staff to keep up with them and our entire government making sure that we're all moving in the same direction, making sure that my
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priorities are being carried out and that our policies are consistent with the commitments that i have made to the american people and that we're delivering progress to the american people. as i said earlier this month, i could not be more grateful to jack lew for his amazing service first as our omb director and then at the state department and ultimately as my chief of staff. he prepares for his confirmation hearings, and the challenge of leading our treasury department. i am pleased to announce my next chief of staff, and a great friend to me and everybody who works here at the white house, mr. dennis mcdonough.
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[ applause ] >> i have been counting on dennis for nearly a decade. since i first came to washington when he helped set up my senate office along with pete rouse. he was able to show me where the rest rooms were and, you know, how you passed a bill. i should point out that even then dennis had gray hair. i've been trying to catch up to him. at that time i relied on his intellect and his good judgment, and that has continued ever since. he has been one of my closest and most trusted advisors on my presidential campaign, on my transition team. he has been an indispensable member of my marshall security
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team as well. dennis has played a key role in every major national security decision in my presidency from ending the war many iraq to winding down the war in afghanistan, from our response to natural disasters around the world, like take haighaiti and tsunami in japan, to the repeal of don't ask don't tell, to countless crisis in between, day and night, and that includes many nights. i've actually begun to think that dennis likes pulling all f all-nighters. the truth is nobody outworks dennis mcdonough. part of the reason you saw such warmth of applause is that in addition to being an incredible talent and such a hard worker, dennis is also a pretty humble guy. to so many of his friends and admirers, he is just the dude from stillwater, minnesota, and given his humility, i don't think people always appreciate the breadth of his experience and the range of his talents. it's precisely because of that
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intellect, that experience, his dedication, his determination that i wanted dennis in this job. as a veteran of capitol hill where he was mentored by the likes of lee hamilton and tom daschle, dennis understands the importance of reaching across the aisle to deliver results for the american people, whether it's on jobs and the economy, health care or education, reducing the deficit, or addressing climate change. dennis is respected by leaders across our government. add it all up, and i think he has spent most of the past four years leading inner-agency meetings, hearing people out, listening to them, forging consensus, and then making sure that our policies are implemented and that everybody is held accountable and he always holds himself accountable first and foremost. it's no easy task, but through it all dennis does it with class and integrity and thoughtfulness for other people's point of views. he is the consequence mat public
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servant. he plays it straight, and that's the kind of teamwork that i want m white house. time and again i relied on dennis to help in our outreach to the american people as well, including immigrant and minority communities and faith communities. dennis is a man of deep faith. he understands that in the end our policies and our programs are measured in the concrete differences that they make in the lives of our fellow human beings and in the values that we advance as americans. dennis insists on knowing for himself the real world impact of the decision that is we make, so away from the cameras without a lot of fanfare he has visited our troops in iraq and afghanistan repeatedly, hearing their concerns, finding out what they need and then making sure to follow-up. he travels to walter reed, again, without fanfare, to spend time with our wounded warriors, getting to know them and what we as a nation can do to take care of them and their families. and then he comes back here to the white house, and he gets it
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done. that's the kind of focus, but also the kind of heart that i want ms white house. now, don't get me wrong. dennis can be tough. it probably comes from being one of 11 children. you've got to be tough. two of his sisters are here today. by the way, mary and anna. i know they -- they're just beaming. they could not be more proud of their brother. maybe it comes from his college football days as defensive back under the legendary john golardi. i always tease dennis that, you know, he made up for modest talents with extraordinary dedication and a high threshold for pain. this does remind me of perhaps the one topic on which dennis and i will never agree, and that is vikings versus bears. there's another reason we all love dennis so much, and that's
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his decency, his respect for those around him. know, ask any of the staff who are here today, and they'll tell you that despite the unbelievable pressures of service at this level, dennis is still the first to think about a colleague or to write a handwritten note saying thank you, to ask about your family. that's the spirit that i wanted in this white house. and this, of course, is reflected in his incredible love for his own family. karri, addy, lee, and teddy. i know that dad has been at work a lot and during the week and on weekends, but -- and i guarantee you would much rather be with you than with me. the next job that he is going to have is going to be demanding too, but the one reason he does this is because he wants to make sure that this world is a better
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place for all of you. dad will probably have to stop riding his bike to work as chief of staff. i don't think that's allowed. but he is -- he does what he does because he cares and loves you guys so much, and he wants to make sure that the next generation is inheriting the kind of america that we all want, so i'm grateful to the entire mcdonough family for putting up with us. dennis, you're not just one of my closest friends, but you are also one of my closest advisors, and like everybody here, i cannot imagine the white house without you. thank you for signing up for this very, very difficult job, as jack lew will testify. i know you'll always give it to me straight as only a friend can, telling me not only what i want to hear, but more importantly, what i need to hear to make the best possible decisions on behalf of the american people.
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so for me, for michelle, for all your friends and colleagues who are here today, thank you for taking this assignment. congratulations. >> thank you. [ applause ] >> i just have one other thing to add. we made a number of personnel announcements today. there's going to be an incredible team that dennis will help lead, but i thought i would take the occasion just to embarrass somebody. some of you may know that today is david's last day at the white
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house. i had to hide this in the end of my remarks because i knew he wouldn't want me to bring it up, so we had some secret squirrel stuff going on here to avoid him thinking that we were going to talk about him. as many of you know david has been with me from the very start of this enterprise running for president. i can't tell you how lucky i have been to have him manage our campaign back in 2008, then join the white house during these very challenging last two years. he has built a well deserved reputation as being a numbers genius, and, you know, pretty tough combatant when it comes to politics, but what people don't always realize because he doesn't like to show it, is the
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reason he does this stuff is because he cares deeply about people, and he cares about justice, and he cares about making sure that everybody gets a shot in life, and those values have motivated him to do incredible things, and if it were not for him, we would not have been as effective a white house and i probably wouldn't be here. i thought it was worthwhile for us just to say even if he doesn't want us to say it, thank you to david plouff for his service. [ applause ]
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>> that was president obama naming dennis mcdonough as his new chief of staff and bidding a surprise fond farewell to david plouff, a trusted senior advisor. mcdonough replaces jack lew who is awaiting confirmation for the post of treasury secretary. hans, you are a denison of the white house. a lot of ardor. i didn't see the hearts and rainbows between the men's two heads, but you could feel the love there. >> when the photographers sfwloom in on their notes afterwards, you see a bunch of hearts. >> right, with "dm" in the center. >> they don't really matter. the cabinets don't matter. we get all excited about who the next treasury secretary is iffing to be, who the next transportation secretary. this one matters. denis mcdonough comes from the foreign affairs background. now, his old boss over at the nsc still runs the nsc. now he has a new boss who is denis mcdonough.
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he will have to deal with the valerie jarrett dynamic, so you could argue -- he has basically been the chief of staff for foreign policy. you could argue there are three different chiefs of staff. >> the president then tried to sort of characterize denis as he is still a dude from the midwest, he is a stand-up guy, he gets the job done, he has a super-human work ethic. your take on denis mcdonough as a figure in national politics? >> he is a real loyalist. very intensely loyal to obama to the point where when he was dealing with the president in the first term, there was a lot of conflict because he was a very fiercely loyal, and, you know, as obviously he has done a good job. obama really obviously loves him, which is different. he is a real loyalist. he has a long, interesting ark in american politics. he was the guy. he was senator tom daschle's chief foreign policy staffer when they were rounding up democrats to vote in favor of the iraq war. something all those guys regret.
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i think mcdonough spent a lot of his career making up for it. >> certainly the president has embraced him regardless of that. let's talk about that embrace because during that we both noted there is a certain levity and joy and feeling that the president is in the game and relishing it in a way that we did not see a lot m first term. >> he could take over the world with the liberal heart. >> he can be president. >> standing astride the kwvrn movement and crush it under his boot. that's how conservatives feel about it. that's part of the reason you are seeing despair and a little bit of desperation on the right. yeah, i think obviously the look -- he didn't used to like to do a lot of press avails. now all of a sudden the president can't talk enough. he can't go on enough about how excite he is about his staff. i do think he is feeling good. >> remember, george w. bush was the same way. he came up and had a little bit more swagger after he was re-elected. i think that's what you get in the first couple of months before you start digging into
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the muck. >> given the climate in washington and what he has faced many his first term. >> he seems to be enjoying this job in a way he hadn't before. he came into a second term thinking that the fever would break in washington. the sort of tea party revolution that had taken over, and in some ways he seems to be right. if you look at what happened with the fiscal cliff, if you look at some of the filibuster reform. >> debt ceiling. >> the debt ceiling stuff. it seems like this is a city that he gets -- he is more of an insider in washington than he was four years ago. i will say about the denis mcdonough appointment, it's good to finally see a white guy get a top job. it's really -- they've been shut out. >> they gave him a chance. >> thanks god. >> there's a reason why this was held up. the president jokes about saying it's the best kept secret in washington. we've all known. we've all reported in various ways that he is the choice. what did they do yesterday? they appointed a female to be lady of the s.e.c. it mattered. the scheduling worked to stack
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this one today zoosh the optics on it. >> i actually had thought he was already named chief of staff. that's how bad the secret was. we have to take a break, but when we come back, senators and frenemies. they strike a deal for the much maligned filibuster. is it still business as usual in the upper chamber? we'll discuss next. with the spark cash card from capital one, olaf gets great rewards for his small business! pizza! [ garth ] olaf's small business earns 2% cash back on every purchase, every day! helium delivery. put it on my spark card! [ pop! ] [ garth ] why settle for less? great businesses deserve great rewards! awesome!!! [ male announcer ] the spark business card from capital one. choose unlimited rewards with 2% cash back or double miles on every purchase, every day! what's in your wallet?
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[ bop ] [ bop ] [ bop ] you can do that all you want, i don't like v8 juice. [ male announcer ] how about v8 v-fusion. a full serving of vegetables, a full serving of fruit. but what you taste is the fruit. so even you... could've had a v8. plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day women's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for women's health concerns as we age. it has 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day 50+. >> if there were ever a time when josh -- were pathetic, it's tonight. these two young fine senatorsed it was time to change the rules in the senate, and we didn't. they were right. the rest of us were wrong. most of us,ian way. what a shame. if it were anything that ever
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needed changing in this body, it's filibuster rule. it's berch abused, abused, and abused. stoo those that do not learn from history are doomed repeat it. that was senate majority leader harry reid lamenting his decision not to enact significant filibuster reform. he fell short of that goal yesterday when he struck a deal with minority leader mitch mcconnell. the deal does not reduce the 60 votes needed overcome the filibuster, nor did is it re-establish the talking filibuster that requires minority opposition to continually hold the floor, ala mr. smith goes to washington. he referred to the reform as the nuclear option and released a statement saying i'm glad such an irr epa rably damaging precedent will not be set today. reid told the washington post e sfl r cline i'm not personally at this stage ready to get rid of the 60 vote threshold. that decision was given some heartburn, including independent senator bernie sanders. >> majority doesn't rule.
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it requires 60 votes. nothing in the constitution about having to have 60 votes to pass a piece of legislation. we cannot address the major issues if we continue to need 60 votes, and the legislation yesterday did not deal with that issue. >> there was some filibuster reformers. i'm not naming names. who watched that like sand slipping through their fingers. why, harry, where? politico analyzing the situation saying, "why reid decided avoid taking unprecedented actions to dramatically weaken the filibuster is rooted chiefly in one main concern? democrats one day will return to minority and need the filibuster to block the gop agenda." >> that's right because they could change the rules if they wanted to. it would be a 51 vote -- >> simple majority. >> simple majority. biden would have to reside. if there was a real will to do that, they would. i think people in the senate are wedded to the rules, even though it's constricted what obama was
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able to do. he wasn't able to get the dream act. no public option. my health care law. >> there's been some movement there, but -- >> looks like these reforms will ease some of the judicial appointments that have been held up previously. i think this is progress. in a body that is so gridlocked, they did get something done. >> can i just say that i'm considering holding a sum wit my husband and mother-in-law to consider possibly changing the family surname hence forth to be known as joy because the reid name -- >> i'm going with -- reid isn't working for me today. i'm a bit embarrassed by harry. yeah. we've been embarrassed. look, held the first day of the senate this long for that? you know, look, the tradition -- >> he has been it on for three weeks. >> this is all he came up with. at minimum, if you want to talk about the trigs of the senate, and i agree, senators are wedded to it, the talking filibuster say tradition of the senate. could he at least have brought
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that back? i feel like the change seems to minor that it was a waste of time. mcconnell won the negotiation once again. he backed harry reid down. it's a shame. >> i mean, this is something that really only people who care a ton about senate procedure who care about it's going to clear up some of the -- you can't filibuster -- the actual changes. like it's going to clear up some of the filibustering to proceed. you'll be glad to know. i guess i manned the sort of political maneuverings here. >> you understand what filling the amendment means? that's apparently what we're talking about. what is the next segment here? can we stop filibustering this hoe? let's move on. come on. let's get three of five votes. >> let me filibuster for just a moment more. the senate and the congress is broken. their approval rating is in the toilet, and part of that is because nothing ever gets done there. setting aside personal gain,
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political gain, it makes sense to reform this. as joy said, the talking filibuster is part of the tradition. how is that the -- >> part of the tradition of blocking civil rights legislation, right? it's not like -- it was a fairly effective method of blocking all sorts of legislation. >> that's true. >> i mean, at the same time, look, the republicans what they wanted most and they have claimed that the reason they filibuster everything is that harry reid hasn't allowed them to offer amendments. to your point about filling the amendment tree. they got what they wanted most. now harry reid will not be able to prevent them from offering amendments. he will have to let both sides offer two amendments medical record to move a bill past the first filibuster, and this isn't the filibuster. this is just to begin debate on an item. i mean, i think republicans ms instance got exactly the thing they wanted most. i'm not sure what democrats got. i agree with keeping the filibuster itself because democrats may need is one day, but i think more reform than this was warranted. >> we have no idea where 20141 going to happen. there are a lot of vulnerable democrats that will be up. yes, they have a five seat majority, but they have an insurance policy, and whatever
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happens after 2014, the rights of the minority will be protected as they are now. we're thinking long. we're thinking short. >> the other thing that the sort of do nothing congress has done, if you will, is hold up judicial appointments. this is interesting. the "wall street journal" reporting today that the u.s. court of appeals says that obama -- the president has violated the constitution with his recess appointments to the national labor relations board in december. the white house is expected to appeal that to the supreme court. >> i'm sorry. were you casting about it more boring a full buster. now we're doing the labor relations board. i concede. >> the point here is that given the fact, dwifb the obstruction there, and given the foot drag, given the holds, given the filibustering or the threat of filibuster, basic functioning government is increasingly become a thing of the past to the degree that the president needs to use the congressional research to appoint people to the national labor relations board. if that's not broken, i don't know what is. >> the reason he lost that is
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because republicans used a trick of going away on vacation and pretending they weren't in recess. essentially this trickery is being upheld by a court. it's ridiculous. >> it was a great trick that democrats came up with during the bush administration, right? this is the long game to all of it, right? there's recess appointments. recess appointes have less political authority, so they're a little weaker, so they get a bit of a win there. >> we'll see. it's very interesting to me the supreme court is going to take this up. apparently althe decisions made by the national labor relations board are now moot in the last year because the appeals court thinks that he has violated the constitution. add soming further dysfunction to our nation's capital. adding dysfunction to this show. joy reid has to leave us. >> joy blobitty blah. >> i will not go by reid until we get filibuster reform. >> thank you as always. >> thank you. >> coming up, the suicide of a 26-year-old internet activist leads to a discussion about the
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prosecution of cyber criminals. we will discuss with chris hayes when he joins us for up now just ahead. so if you have a flat tire, dead battery, need a tow or lock your keys in the car, geico's emergency roadside assistance is there 24/7. oh dear, i got a flat tire. hmmm. uh... yeah, can you find a take where it's a bit more dramatic on that last line, yeah? yeah i got it right here. someone help me!!! i have a flat tire!!! well it's good... good for me. what do you think? geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. this reduced sodium soup says it may help lower cholesterol, how does it work? you just have to eat it as part of your heart healthy diet. step 1. eat the soup. all those veggies and beans, that's what may help lower your cholesterol and -- well that's easy [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
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may be more likely to misuse lyrica. having less pain... it's a wonderful feeling. [ female announcer ] ask your doctor about lyrica today. it's specific treatment for diabetic nerve pain. to hear more of phyllis's story, visit lyrica.com. >> just crossing the wires now. ap is reporting that the white house and a senate group will launch separate efforts mechanics week to push for immigration reform. we'll bring you more details on that as we get them. first, m wake of the bradley manning case, and aaron schwartz's suicide, some lawmakers are looking for ways to change the internet piracy laws. when does the pursuit of knowledge become an illegal activity? we'll discuss when chris hayes joins the panel. next. we are the house when it comes to the big game. yeah. it's his thing. i don't even participate.
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>> 26-year-old aaron swarz is facing 13 felony charges and up to 35 years in prison for computer-related crimes when he took his own life earlier this month. his family says that he had battled depression in the past, and he was driven to suicide due to the unrelenting and merciless presidential overreach of the federal government and its cyber crime laws. his crime? connecting his computer to m.i.t.'s network without permission and downloading over four million academic journals from a nonprofit database of scholarly articles. here now is chris hayes, host of "up" for a little segment we like to call "up now." >> i love it. >>. >> well played. >> a really interesting case, and i think the first thing that i want to talk with you about is we have, you know -- the cyber
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crime has been out there in the ether which is to say bradley manning, julian asange and now this latest piece with aaron. i feel like americans still don't know how to wrap their heads around this and whether it is, in fact, a crime. >> yeah. i think there's a few things to think about. if your neighbor puts out a picnic table in your yard and they start having barbecues back there, if you take their picnic table and you start having picnics, then they can't have picnics, but if you take their idea of having a picnic table, you can both have picnics, right? the difference between if you stole my iphone, i would have to get a new iphone. if you steal a j-store article, right, that j-store article, there's still another copy of it. there's a real difference just in what kind of harm is done by the capture of intellectual property. that's the first distinction. then we get to this murky world of what the best analogy for the kinds of things that people do
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on-line where people have a level of power. an individual has a level of power that is unmatched in physical reality, right? aaron was accused of downloading 4.5 million academic articles, right? no one could without some massive sort of heist film kind of situation with a whole bunch of whole crew and guns pull off that kind of theft in the physical world, so that 4.5 million number, you know, we think of that as a massive crime, right? but you get back to this original point of what really is the harm done if those articles still exist? >> also, if he was not intending on profiting there this? >> right. >> as it sounds, our laws are written so that, you know, cyber crimes are all sort of persecute and prosecuted in the same way, which is to say if you are trying to get inside information, if are you tying to run a ponzi scheme, that's in the eyes of the law the same thing as aaron who is trying to share four million scholarly documents with the public. >> let me also say that, i mean,
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again, these are alleged, what aaron did, but he did not even -- you know, it's even unclear what he did was criminal. i mean, that was to be determined in a trial proceeding. j-store didn't want -- j-store, the academic database that was ostensibly the victim of this crime, did not want to press charges, and it was the u.s. attorney's office that -- and partially m.i.t.'s whose network he used. it brings you to the question of why did the system some come down so hard on him and bradley manning, who is a different case because he is under the uniform code of military justice, and i think the profound point here is that internet hacker activists and dissidents are able to act on their disent in this way that other activists can't, right? i -- if you don't want carbon to be emitted, you can't just shut down power plants, right? but if you think that the j-store article should be accessible to the public, you, 26-year-old kid with some chops as a computer programmer --
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>> 26-year-old. >> can go in and grab them and maybe put them up, or you a private first class in iraq who thinks these secrets should be out there, can grab those documents off the internet and give them. there is a power that's invested in these specific kind of dissident that is have this technical knowledge that is terrifying, i think, to the powers that be, and not for a ridiculous reason. there is really something that is a real challenge to authority about that. >> and, ben, when we talk about how zealous the prosecution of swarz was, in many ways he is seen as the one to bare the cross for the crimes of bradley manning for the, you know, the die vulg ens of national security secrets and that he was maybe in some ways to be a lesson to future -- it was supposed to be a lesson to future hackers. as ab internet denison of yourself -- >> and a hacker, let's be honest. >> you know, it is almost a wild
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west out there, right? the idea of creating laws is almost an enactment on the internet as we have it. >> everybody is reckoning. it's a new landscape, which there are also now media companies if you write about certain groups they'll hit down your website. it's this new form of something. it's just this new landscape. i think you hear prosecutors like chris said talk about it. it's like you took a crowbar and broke into that thing and stole. it's really not. it's really different. >> they're going after manning on the world war i era law too, right? >> there's the world war i era law? >> espionage. >> this is a very different case. >> he is operating under this broad theory that you can basically kind of shut down the workings of government and
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create this kind of anarchy in a world where you can't give secrets. >> they're obviously trying to make an example of him. he is a high-profile case. you saw that, for instance, with napster. you see that with michael vick trying to make an example out of him. i do also think, though, i mean, what i have been most struck by is the talk about mental illness. didn't know him. i know you knew him. that also seems to be an opportunity to talk about what happened with him. he obviously committed suicide, had all of this pressure from these possible prosecution, and i think this is obviously an opportunity to talk about the ravages of mental illness. >> aaron wrote honestly and persuasively about suffering debilitating episodes of depression on his blog. i think in the wake of the -- i think when i got the news about aaron, it was -- i didn't know what role the prosecution had played in that. i think we're going to have actually tomorrow we have aaron's partner -- >> on your show.
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>> on our show, and she's going to be giving her first cable news interview, and talking about the role it played, and i think it really did play a big role. what i have heard from the family is that -- one thing i think i would say here is this kind of prosecutorial zealousness is not an outliar. first of all, they were trying to make an example out of him because it is threatening, and the computer fraud and abuse act which was written in 1985 is overly broad. the other thing is the way our criminal justice system works is that your job as a performer is to scare someone into pleading out. basically that's what you do. so what you do is you try to bring -- the constitutionality of plea bargains and how that's how we should move people through the fubl of our criminal justice system. >> our criminal justice system in general is place where reform would be good if reform would
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visit our criminal justice system. i always try to bring the hammer down on you in these arguments, and i never ever, ever seem to be able to. >> i'm too crafty. >> you are. that sounds like a great show tomorrow. >> we're looking forward to it. >> tune in for that. this conversation continues tomorrow when chris is joined, wow, i can't say her name. tearin -- >> stein district of columbia. >> the founder and executive director of some of us.org, and the partner of aaron swarz. you can chris on "up" tomorrow and every weekend at 8:00 a.m. eastern. the rest of our panel, what a friday. it's all for now. see you back here monday at noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. pacific when i'm joined by former pennsylvania governor ed rendell, the huffington post sam stein, and new york sometimes joannie cantor, bloomberg news jonathan alatar and hannah from the aclu.
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NOW With Alex Wagner
MSNBC January 25, 2013 9:00am-10:00am PST

News/Business. Alex Wagner. Forces driving the day's stories. New.

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